How To Bounce Back From A Rough Academic Start

The amount and level of difficulty of coursework you’ll find in college will either be familiar or challenging, depending on your previous K-12 education. Many first year students and students transferring from community colleges to four year universities struggle during their first few months with the rigorous academic demands that they face.

This can result in having a bad grade point average at the start of your college career. If you find yourself struggling with classes or dealing with bad grades after taking your first college courses, don’t lose all hope. It’s hard work, but there are things you can do to get your GPA back up and on track.

1) Drop the course/ Take it pass-no pass. If you are failing a class with no chance of bringing your course grade up to at least a C, the best thing you can do is drop the course, or take it on a pass-no pass basis. If you drop the course, you will be able to retake it at a later date when you are more prepared, and you won’t have the bad grade on your transcript. If you take the course on a pass-no pass basis, all you need is to get at least a D and it will show up on your transcript as you having passed the class. Of course every school has their own system when it comes to dropping classes so I would talk to your advisor before making a decision.

2) Take summer courses. Even though they take time away from vacationing and relaxing, summer courses are a great way to boost your academic performances. Typically you’re taking less classes than you would during the regular school year and the classes are smaller, which means you have more time to study and a better chance at getting personalized attention. If there’s a difficult class you have to take to complete your major requirements, you might want to take it during the summer when the pace is slower.

3) Use your resources. It’s never too late to take advantage of the resources available to you to get your grades up. This includes going to professor office hours, hiring a tutor, and forming study groups with classmates. Often times, students who fall  behind academically are those who are not using their resources and their time efficiently. Every campus has resources available to help its students succeed, believe me. All you have to do is ask.

5) Take “filler” courses. “Filler” courses are classes that are not necessarily pertinent to your major, but relatively easy and can help you boost your GPA. If you have units to spare, (which you probably will as a freshman in college), this might be a good option for you. Make sure to choose these courses based on your personal strengths and weaknesses and not simply based on hearsay, because you might find a class that is easy for someone else difficult for you. Some popular options are physical education classes, entry-level art classes, and topic seminars.

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Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga is a second year at the University of California Davis double majoring in Political Science and Communications. When she’s not theorizing about the greater meaning behind her day-to-day experiences on her blog, you can find her on a run, enjoying a blend of the outdoors and her favorite tunes. Pamela loves to read, write, and travel, and hopes to work in the fields of Journalism and Media as a career.
Pamela Nonga

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